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Should Sheriffs Speak Out Against Gun Proposals?

Several metro Atlanta sheriffs have come out against President Barack Obama’s recent executive orders tightening gun restrictions. Tell us if you agree with them.

Several metro Atlanta sheriffs have stepped forward in recent days to say they will not enforce a number of gun measures proposed earlier this month by President Barack Obama.

Some of the president’s proposals include a limit on the number of bullets in an ammo clip and a renewed ban on assault rifles.

In Cherokee County, Sheriff Roger Garrison said he and his deputies would not enforce “any laws or regulations that negate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County,” nor will allow the enforcement of “Any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers” within his county’s borders.

“In the aftermath of the recent criminal events, the president, vice-president and many members of Congress are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by attempting to enact laws, restrictions; and, even through use of executive orders, prevent law-abiding American citizens from possessing certain firearms and ammunition magazines,” Garrison wrote in an opinion published on Woodstock Patch. “I will fully exercise the power of the Office of Sheriff to protect and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County. My position is best stated by fellow Sheriff Tim Muller of Linn County, Oregon in his letter to the President. ‘We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.’”

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren authored a letter with a similar sentiment, which was published by the Marietta Daily Journal.

“It is my firm commitment to immediately challenge and seek injunctive relief from any statute or executive action which violates the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the citizens of Cobb County,” Warren wrote.

Should sheriffs be speaking out against the president’s gun proposals? Do you feel that they should enforce any new gun laws, or do you stand by their decision not to?

Share what’s on your mind with us, and then return here to see what your neighbors in Paulding, Douglas and Cobb have said.

R. Lee Bays January 31, 2013 at 04:51 PM
"Should sheriffs be speaking out against the president’s gun proposals?" No - it's ludicrous to suggest that guns are above regulation. Do you feel that they should enforce any new gun laws, or do you stand by their decision not to? Last time I checked, sheriffs are for law enforcement, not law interpretation. They should either enforce the law or get out of the business.
R. Lee Bays January 31, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Where does that paranoid "church-going" old man in Lilburn who shot the young man for turning around in his driveway fit in to your equation?
Lloyd January 31, 2013 at 05:52 PM
If Law Enforcement can voice support for Gun Control then Others that supports the 2nd Amendment Pro Gun can damn well voice their's
ken holewinski January 31, 2013 at 06:24 PM
We have plenty of gun laws. Let us enforce the ones on the books, we do not need more laws, we need more safer people. Let's ban all of the violent video games, that may be a better start, although that would violate the free speech people. I have rights too, including the 2nd amendment just like everyone else.
Alex Mason January 31, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Ken, I love violent video games. However, if we need to tighten restrictions on them to keep people safer, I'm on board. Interesting fact: I recently played through one of those violent video games - "Call of Duty: Black Ops". I noticed during the credits that they gave special thanks to Remington, Barrett, and Colt (three large gun manufacturers in the US). Their guns are licensed to the game makers. It's a great little marketing relationship. Here is an article in the NYTimes that explores the relationship between game makers and gun manufacturers. Unfortunately, the manufacturers did not provide a comment. Just something to think about. You can pretend to use their guns to kill people! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/business/real-and-virtual-firearms-nurture-marketing-link.html?_r=0
Jan January 31, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Amen to that!
Jan January 31, 2013 at 11:18 PM
I had read that about 40% of the guns sold do not go thru background checks... IE: gun shows, and personal sales. There is certainly room for improvement there.
Julie Camp February 01, 2013 at 03:39 AM
So, I'm wrong? None of these mass murderers have mental issues?
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino February 01, 2013 at 07:08 AM
Curtis, my method is to find the common ground for cooperation and compromise, which is what I offered earlier. Common sense, like everything, is in the eye of the beholder, so we need objective studies to determine what is really going on. (For instance, common sense to me is to get rid of all guns but I would not impose my common sense on you.)
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino February 01, 2013 at 07:14 AM
Jeff, where did I get my idea of meeting in the middle or compromising in our understanding, interpretation and application of the Constitution---where else but in the whole fabric of the Constitution and democracy. That is what it is all about--ever evolving and subject to new interpretation. The 2nd Amendment, which everyone here so loves, was born in slavery to protect runaway slave militias rights,and was not interpreted to relate to private gun ownership until a new Supreme Court decision in 2008. (In between the 1800's and 2008, its interpretation and meaning changed many times.) So of course, it like any other aspect of our laws and Constitution, is open to changing interpretations at any time, without ever having to amend the Constitution.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino February 01, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Lowell, of course I am open to reasonable restrictions on the First Amendment rights, as any other rights we have, because they all come with responsibilities. Read my reply above regarding the 2nd Amendment---its interpretation and application has changed many times throughout history, and even most recently the Supreme Court in 2008 said that it did not allow unrestricted gun ownership and allowed for certain gun bans, background checks, etc. (and even Scalia, the most conservative, wrote that opinion).
Ymel February 01, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Obama Executive order count: 138 Bush Executive order count: 291 Clinton Executive order count: 364 Bush Sr. Executive order count: 166 Reagan Executive order count: 381 What exactly do you fear? Reagan issued 3 times as many.
Ymel February 01, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Hammers? Fox really said that? lol
Ymel February 01, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Amen!
Ymel February 01, 2013 at 01:59 PM
The NRA just introduced a violent video game aimed at 4 yr olds. Maybe we should start there?
Pam J February 01, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Why don't we just all agree to accept that there is nothing that can be done. There is no way to find all the crazy, unhinged people with guns. If every gun was sold by a licensed gun dealer, then the background check and such might help. But since so many guns are sold by private dealers, all bets are off. We still don't know where the kid who shot up the middle school yesterday got his gun. So let's just ban the "I can shoot 100 people at one time" guns and be done with it. Then just try and avoid any crazy, unhinged person who might be roaming around out there.
Pete February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Sure Ken. Let's ostracize video games as the reason for gun violence. And while we are at it, lets ban the news too, because I see far greater REAL violence on the evening news than I see on a video game. Games are not sold to persons under the age of 17... Guess what? Kids are playing them too, so the parents must be breaking the law, and letting their kids play them, so, let's ban people from having kids...
Pete February 01, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Pam - The people who abuse the guns are the ones that don't follow laws, so the laws really only restrict law abiding citizens.. The background check laws are in place - they just need to be expanded, and networked across states - perfect reason for a federal program.. Automatic weapons are already banned... Stereotyping an AR15 as an "assault weapon" is silly - ALL instruments capable of killing are assault weapons.. Magazine size limits are reasonable to me, as are bans on bulletproof vests and certain types of ammo - those are military/police/security items to me. This to me would be a rational, reasonable approach.. The problem is fanatics on both sides of the issue are puffing up their chests and not listening.
Lowell February 01, 2013 at 10:12 PM
As I expected, Richard, you are spouting revisionist disinformation born in 1998 in an article by the aptly named professor Carl Bogus at Roger Williams University Law School in Rhode Island. You would probably also argue the 3/5's clause was a racist slight to blacks. No, the Bill of Rights, penned by James Madison, stemmed from dissatisfaction that the Constitution lacked a statement of specific individual rights. These were enemies of tyranny who had just defeated the Crown as an overreaching central authority. The didn't want to create a new one. Madison looked to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, from George Mason and found many inspirations there, including "Section 13. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power." Clearly the focus is limitation of central power, fear of a large centralized army-backed authority and a desire to push power out to the people. The point of the 2nd Amendment is that the body of the people at large (not just some wing-nut minority) could, in the extreme, ultimately join forces and defend themselves against a central authority. In that context, all this whining about "military-style" firearms melts away and they are revealed as entirely appropriate.
Byron Rangitsch February 02, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Lowelll, Every Supreme Court ruling ever supports and upholds some degree of regulation, especially when the issue turns to military weapons. Why should we believe Lowell from the Patch over Scalia or Berger from the Supreme Court of the United States? I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the constitutional scholars are on the big benching not on patch. Their thoughtful articulate decisions are posted on the Internet, and your version of the 2nd Ammendment is at odds with Articles 1, 2, 3, 6 and the preamble. So, I can't be swayed by any argument regarding constitutional interpretation. But why would any rational patch reader accept your constitutional interpretation over that of a Supreme Court justice?
Airborne February 02, 2013 at 10:49 PM
why is everyone so interested in protecting an agency that the supreme court has deemed has not duty to protect the citizens. It is everyones duty to protect themselves. Not the governments. Also if a statute is passed and is not in accordance with the Constitution we as law abiding citizens are to ignore it and only back the law of the land which is the constitution. Not Statutes. People are confused over what politicians are calling law.
Lowell February 03, 2013 at 08:27 AM
Yeah, Byron. God knows there were never any dissenting views on any rulings, so they must be perfect. So, tell me how my "version of the 2A" is so at odds, please. I would've sworn I was looking at the same text everyone else is.
Lowell February 03, 2013 at 08:43 AM
Richard, I hope you are mistaken when you say you would be "open to reasonable restrictions on the First Amendment rights,..." or you are horribly misguided and childlike. Perhaps you are referring to the responsibilities that come with freedom and thinking of those as "restrictions"? No, the difference is that, for example, the government does not place a muzzle on you or cut out your tongue before you go into a theatre, preventing you from yelling "fire" without reason. There are instead, consequences for misusing the right that you have irresponsibly after the fact. This is known as the Doctrine of Prior Restraint, which applies to rights like free speech. Many don't understand this and consider libel and slander laws infringements. They don't understand that the right allows you to commit those transgressions, but the responsibility part kicks in after the fact and allows for repercussions and consequences which themselves are not unconstitutional. Nevertheless the right provides unbridled freedom to those who exercise it responsibly. That I am never willing to compromise and I hope, enlightened, you would not either.
Byron Rangitsch February 03, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Because the congress makes the laws (Art 1) and this is the law of the land (Art 6). Because the original intent of the 2A as determined by the Supreme Court under powers granted by Article 3 and settled by Marbury v Madison contradicts what you say. You are wrong because you ignore the rule of law, judicial precedent, and the interpretation of actual experts. Fwiw, the dissents don't support your view of the 2A either. Even if they did, per the constitution, they're not the meaning of the law.
Lowell February 05, 2013 at 08:05 AM
Nothing I said conflicts with your cited articles. Of course, this Federal administration has made ignoring the rule of law a common practice. So, go figure. Law enforcement is always picking and choosing enforcement actions. Any belief to the contrary is wildly naive. In this case, believing the law unconstitutional until tested and ruled otherwise in a competent court, they are upholding their oath. It's not my judgement at question here - it is the judgement of the involved LEO supervision. I simply defended their right to speak out and to make that judgement. I also never said it couldn't ultimately be without consequence.
Lowell February 05, 2013 at 08:25 AM
Of course you don't need an amendment to make a law, but you may need an amendment to make a law constitutional. Conversely, laws can be voided by judicial review, finding they are in violation of existing constitutional principles. Where the line is can change in either direction over time. Every new law can be called into question against the Constitution. Some are obviously OK and some are not. That's why we have a court. I think the point here is if the advocates of much stricter control are so sure they are in the majority, then let them take their case to the people in the form of a clarifying amendment and put the question to rest. Smugly contorting the meaning of the Constitution only breeds contempt for the institutions involved in doing so. Glibly claiming that the Constitution means anything that the Supreme Court says it does, regardless of common sense, is just spoiling for a fight in the legislature and in enforcement.
Lloyd February 06, 2013 at 12:12 AM
You are saying that Police and Sherffs do not have a 1st Amendment Protection but Mayors Governor and Elected Officials has that Freedom of Speech Right.The Police should have the Right too.Just as you said that many are Anti-2ND Amendment,there are many out there in the Front Lines that are Pro-2nd Amendment.From what i get you are saying just the Anti-2nd Amendment Police and Sheriffs should be allowed to Voice their Opinion,to that i say you are a hypocrite of the worst kind that if someones opinion don't match yours ,then they are wrong.BULL
Lloyd February 06, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Paulding County Resident and Parent:I believe in the Constitution as a Whole ,not just certain Parts.A lot of Newspapers will use the Freedom of the Press to get their way,but some of them are the 1st to be Anti-2nd Amendment .I believe the above comment to wrote was right on the money.Good Job!
Lloyd February 06, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Jeff S.:Amen Brother
Lloyd February 06, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Lowell ;Good Job!

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